Posted by: coachingparents | August 15, 2009

Connecting……… Forgiveness and Friendship

By Caron Goode

It was 1960. Jessica was nine years old and Rusty was ten. His family was Baptist and hers was Catholic. When his family moved into the neighborhood, Rusty became the youngest member of the thirteen boys in the neighborhood gang. One Saturday afternoon, the two girls of the neighborhood were walking home from the movie theater. Jessica said goodbye to her friend and headed home to help her mother.

Some of the neighborhood boys grabbed Jessica by the arms, held her, and threw a coarse rope around her neck. It happened so fast, she offered no resistance, and she pushed her hands between the rope and her neck to keep from choking.

The boys pulled her down the alley behind the houses. Jessica was tripping over her own feet, and fell several times, bruising her knees. She dared not cry for fear of what they would do to her. She couldn’t speak; she could barely breathe.

Finally they shoved her into her back yard. They pulled the rope taught until she turned red and tears streamed down her face. Mortified, embarrassed, hurt, and dying to run away, she wondered where her mother was. May be she was looking out a window and would come and rescue her any moment. Mom?  Her mother never came. Jessica knew the utter feeling of helplessness at the hands of these young bullies.

Finally they all ran away. Jessica lay on the grass and looked up at passing clouds until she could quit sobbing and breathe again and her trembling would stop. She felt a hand touch her hand. She looked over and Rusty was sitting cross-legged beside her. He was crying too.

“I am so sorry. I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t stop it. They are bigger than me, and so mean today. I want to be your friend, and I never want you to hurt again. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it……..” The rest of Rusty’s words were unintelligible through his tears.

Jessica squeezed his hand. She couldn’t say anything yet. And they understood each other. She forgave him, grateful for the offer of friendship.


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